Confessionario mayor, y menor en lengua mexicana, y platicas contra las supresticiones.

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Author: Bartolomé de Alva (c1597-?)

Year: 1634

Publisher: Francisco Salbago

Place: Mexico City


[4]+52 leaves. Small quarto (7 3/4" x 5 1/4") bound in original contemporary vellum. A confessional in parallel Nahuatl and Spanish. (Medina, Mexico 444; Palau 9049; Pilling 70; Sabin 48375) First edition.

Don Bartolomé de Alva was a Novohispanic mestizo secular priest and Nahuatl translator. Alva was one of the youngest children born to indigenous Doña Ana Cortés Ixtlixochitl and her husband, a Spaniard, Juan Pérez de Peralta. Alva may have been the youngest, or he may have had a younger sister, but records are unclear. He was born around 1597, which appears to be around the time his mother became the cacique of Teotihuacan.

In 1634 Alva wrote and published a Nahuatl-language confessionary, Confessionario Mayor, y Menor en Lengva Mexicana (A Guide to Confession Large and Small in the Mexican Language), for the use of priests administering confession to Nahuas. This book is a script to the Catholic Sacrament of Confession between a Nahua confessant, the person who seeks forgiveness by confessing their sins, and a Spanish-speaking confessor, the priest who hears the Confession. The Confessionario is written as a parallel conversation in both Spanish and Nahuatl within which Alva condenses teachings of the Catholic Church into the lines of the priest, and the sins of the Native person into the scripted responses of the Nahua participant.

Condition: Vellum, worn; waste-paper pastedowns, lacking free endpapers, title page stained, 2nd and 3rd leaves torn at center with no loss, 4th leaf and leaves 48-51 defective, lacking final leaf, manuscript notes in margins. A poor but rare field item. Only 4 copies located on OCLC.

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